In addition to moving up the release date of Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated Prometheus follow-up Alien: Covenant from August 2017 to May 2017, 20th Century Fox also shuffled another film and set release dates for a pair of unspecified Fox/Marvel movies. First the known: the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle has been pushed out of the Summer 2017 corridor from its previous release date of June 16, 2017, and will now open in theaters on October 6, 2017. That’s quite a different landscape as the film will now be squaring off directly with the sequel Blade Runner: 2049, but one imagines Fox will be playing up the action-comedy angle of the Kingsman follow-up in contrast to Denis Villeneuve’s sure-to-be serious tone for the Blade Runner sequel. Still, that’s one heck of a choice you’re asking the audience to make, and one wonders if Blade Runner might shift a bit in the wake of this news.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is no half-assed follow-up either, as Matthew Vaughn returns to direct with an all-star cast that includes returning members Taron Egerton and Colin Firth alongside newcomers Julianne Moore, Channing Tatum, and Elton John. The first movie opened in February 2015 and grossed $414.3 million worldwide, which is incredibly solid for an R-rated action romp. I’ll be interested to see if the sequel can find similar success in the fall season.
The October 6, 2017 release was actually previously occupied by an untitled Fox/Marvel film, which many believed was pegged for Gambit. Filming on that X-Men spinoff starring Channing Tatum was supposed to begin in Fall 2015, but the project subsequently lost two directors and is undergoing script rewrites, so the delays plus the fact that it still has no director makes that October 2017 date impossible.
But not to fear—Fox is still bullish on churning out features based on the Marvel properties it owns the rights to, as the studio has now dated Untitled Fox/Marvel films for release on November 2, 2018 and February 14, 2019. One of these dates could be for Deadpool 2, which just landed John Wick co-director David Leitch to take the helm after Tim Miller dropped out over creative differences with star Ryan Reynolds. This sequel is a priority for Fox given that the first film—a modestly budgeted R-rated superhero movie—grossed an insane $782.6 million worldwide. Production is expected to begin sometime next year as casting was well underway when Miller left, so really Deadpool 2 could be ready for release either in November 2018 or February 2019. It depends on how long Fox wants to wait and what kind of launch they want to give the follow-up. Deadpool surpassed all expectations with some solid counter-programming over the Valentine’s Day weekend of this year, so they could simply follow the same formula and release on Valentine’s Day 2019. Or the film could get a splashy holiday season superhero debut in November.
Or, what’s more likely, Deadpool 2 could take the previously announced March 2, 2018 “Untitled Fox/Marvel Film” release date and February 14, 2019 is being eyed for the Deadpool 3/X-Force movie that’s already in the works. Fox is reportedly already trying to nail down a director for Deadpool 3, so the timeline would work out so that Deadpool 2 shoots in 2017 for a 2018 release and Deadpool 3/X-Force shoots in 2018 for a 2019 release.
That November 2, 2018 date is currently home to Disney’s live-action Mulan as well as an untitled Paramount Event Film, which is likely a Transformers movie. February 14, 2019, meanwhile, is currently empty.
So if one of these movies is Deadpool 3, what’s the other one? The most likely candidate is New Mutants, which has Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) writing and directing and is planned as a YA-skewing X-Men spinoff. Or it could be Gambit, if that movie finally gets off the ground. The main X-Men franchise is at a bit of an impasse as writer/producer Simon Kinberg is expected to try and jump-start things after the lackluster reception of X-Men: Apocalypse, but director Bryan Singer is not returning and the contracts for Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy have all been fulfilled. The plan now, reportedly, is for Kinberg to take a stab at writing a new X-Men film that assumes Lawrence, Fassbender, and McAvoy re-up their contracts, but with so many unknowns it’s unlikely that film would be ready for a November 2018 release.